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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)

Version 1.2017


Radiation therapy


Almost all women with stage III breast

cancer will receive radiation therapy.

Part 5 explains how radiation therapy

works and where it is needed. It also

provides some details on what to expect

during treatment.


Radiation therapy is a local treatment for breast

cancer. It may be given after surgery to the breast

or chest wall.

See Figure 13

. Nearby lymph nodes

may be treated as well. The purpose of treatment is

to decrease the chance of the cancer returning at the

treatment site.

For stage III breast cancer, radiation therapy uses

high-energy x-rays for treatment. The rays damage

DNA in cancer cells. This either kills the cancer cells

or stops new cancer cells from being made.

A radiation oncologist will oversee your treatment.

A radiation oncologist is a doctor who’s an expert in

treating cancer with radiation. He or she will tailor

treatment to you.

Radiation therapy can be received with some but

not all cancer treatments. It is okay to take HER2

antibodies or endocrine therapy during radiation

therapy. Radiation therapy is usually given after

chemotherapy is finished.

If you are pregnant, don’t start radiation therapy. It

may harm your baby. Start after your baby is born.

Figure 13

Radiation sites

Areas of your body where the

cancer may return will be treated.

Radiation may be given to your

breast or chest wall. Lymph

nodes near the breast with cancer

may be treated as well.

axillary nodes

internal mammary nodes

infraclavicular nodes

supraclavicular nodes

breast or chest wall

Copyright © 2017 National Comprehensive Cancer Network